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Category Archives: Orange County IDA
Yesterday I waded back into the government meetings, after a mental/artistic furlough of many months. First I went to the Orange County IDA meeting, albeit thirty minutes late; in time for the Orange County Business Accelerator’s presentation (above) just before the executive session, which sent me outside. At first I was going to wait it out; then I began to take an interest in the surroundings.
This painting on the wall, for example. What city is this? None I can recognize; certainly none in Orange County. It’s a pleasing cityscape though, wherever it is from.
Most offices have one of these: the random cabinet/plant/junk/watercooler corner.
Oddly, the IDA’s is hocking some kind of medical insurance.
Talk about selling yourself in a whisper!
Think local; dream global. I like the think local, but after that “dream” global seems so sadly unattainable.
A very bleached Newburgh print. It’s also gigantic, I know you can’t tell that from this picture.
A nice timeline. Good job, Focus Media. Although not your fault that…
Continental Organics is your first client. I remember hearing their pitch, I was there for the powerpoint. I thought it sounded great too. Even the best laid plans…
This is a fantastic logo though. You got the Hudson River, the mountains, and the Orange County built development. Brilliant.
Hillary on Fox: a zero sum game?
Back to business.
I am impressed with some of the new directions the IDA is taking in terms of promoting manufacturing businesses through the Accelerator. I would like to suggest that they invite a young curator, perhaps from Bard CCS, to update their office art – even a few pieces – to give some new energy to the IDA.
You could have an opening reception for the new art, and your new small manufacturing businesses, promoting all these things.
Who doesn’t love a makeover?
Also posted tonight on the THR’s website, former County Executive Eddie Diana may soon take a seat on the Orange County Industrial Development Agency, replacing board member Russel Vernon who is moving away.
The article is illustrated with a photo of Diana at his home. In the background is an intriguing painting of a building, that reminds me somehow of the same colors and tones of De Chirico.
Today my letter to the editor, reprinted below, appeared in the print edition of the Times Herald-Record on page 10:
Job cuts weigh on sick, poor
Of the 50 county jobs Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus proposes to cut, disproportionately the jobs affect services to the sick and the poor.
Meanwhile, through the County IDA, he announces a new program to give away $2 million each to businesses promising jobs. Is that where the county’s “missing millions” are going?
A. JANE JOHNSTON
The County press releases just continue to strain belief more and more each day. Today’s news, Saturday July 19, a midhudsonnews.com article with Steve Brescia, County Legislative Chairman and general ally of County Executive Neuhaus, justifying the planned layoffs:
“Even if some people don’t believe $60 million, let’s say it is a $40 million gap, that’s huge…”
How exactly is it a MATTER OF BELIEF? Either it is REAL or it is NOT REAL, and if it is REAL you can back up your statements, if it is NOT REAL you do not deserve to sit at the grownups table.
Then, I was catching up on my press releases, and curiously, even though I am subscribed to receive the economic development press releases from the county for some reason I did not get the one that came out on Friday, July 18–but that’s okay, since I easily found it posted on their home page, I guess. I subscribed again, so perhaps I can chalk this up to computer error? Anyway, it’s the latest Orange County Partnership/Orange County IDA hullabaloo, a “Shovel-Ready Policy” for Job Creation. You know, Steve Neuhaus is a loyal, good Republican and has to do his part to be business friendly, anti-taxes, and all that goes with the traditional Republican platform. So what does this involve? HANDING OUT $2 MILLION TO BUSINESSES FOR UP-FRONT EXPENDITURES.
What struck me most about this list is that the positions to be eliminated are primarily those that help the sick or the poor. That must fit in nicely with Mr. Neuhaus’s political ideals. Meanwhile, he can fork over $2 Million with little care or consideration, perhaps with some expensive alcohol and a cigar, to people he does not even know from out of town who casually say they might bring some jobs here, perhaps. Perhaps. And his second in command, Steve Brescia, backs up his leader’s ridiculous numbers and fantasy-land plans because that is what followers are supposed to do, no matter how crazy and ridiculous things get. We’ve seen it all before; how crazy things got with Eddie Diana, and everyone, or almost everyone said nothing.
I guess that is just how things work in Orange County, a cold, hard place if you are sick, or poor, or on the wrong side of the liars, and the cheaters, and the gamblers, who happen to be in control.
Dear Orange County Industrial Development Agency,
I have been receiving meeting notices for your monthly meetings and the OCFC monthly meetings, and I thank you for that.
However, it has come to my attention that you do not have a list of dates for all your monthly meetings for the year 2013 on your website. The New York State Authority Budget Office has on their website a helpful Policy Guidance document that lists the requirements for websites of public authorities: http://www.abo.ny.gov/policyguidance/10-03PostingInformationAuthorityWebSite.pdf
Page 4 of this document states that board meetings should be listed for the year:
• Post schedule of all board meetings at beginning of the fiscal year
Your website does include many helpful documents, but I feel this is an easily correctable omission that might encourage future public attendance and participation, and, at the very least, will increase the transparency of your agency.
A. Jane Johnston
In addition to whatever other accolades attorney Richard Golden can claim, such as former Orange County Attorney, he is proving himself a master as the Government Defiance Man. When the Orange County Industrial Development Agency was having some trouble with the fact that their Armory Grant was, oh, illegal, but they would never admit that or ask the State Comptroller’s office about it because the totally obvious answer was yes, this is totally wrong, they called in Government Defiance Man Rick Golden to figure out a way to let them do what they want–legal or not.
Government Defiance Man wisely knew not to ask the State Comptroller’s opinion, either, but came up with some reasoning that the Authorities Budget Office (part of the State Comptroller’s Division) shot down, albeit to a journalist and not directly to the IDA.
Repeatedly, I asked the Orange County IDA, including former Chairman Jim Petro and former Counsel Phil Crotty, as well as grantmaker Bill Kaplan, why they woudn’t just make a phone call and ask the Comptroller’s Office what they thought about the legality of this grant, but I never got an answer. I must not have been the only one with an eighth grade or better reading level who could understand the grant was illegal.
Now Rick Golden is defending County Executive Diana’s administration in the Valley View Nursing Home hearings. What does this involve? Yes–of course–more government defiance.
In a letter from Mr. Golden to the attorney advising the legislative committee, Mr. Golden explains his objections to giving testimony under oath, including this:
Those called to give sworn testimony will then have the specter of being the subject of a criminal prosecution for statements which turn out to be inaccurate but which flow from simple lapses in memory or hindsight attribution of constructive knowledge of certain documents, etc. This concern by County employees is particularly acute in the light of the political construct of the formation of the Committees. Although such prosecutions will likely not prevail, those County employees branded by Committee members with a simple accusation of perjury will bear that scar forever, and will be subject to the potentially crippling expense of a criminal prosecution against them, as the County cannot defend or indemnify them on matters arising out of any criminal charges.
However, Mr. Golden’s grip on perjury is slippery at best:
N.Y. PEN. LAW § 210.05 : NY Code – Section 210.05: Perjury in the third degree
A person is guilty of perjury in the third degree when he swears falsely. Perjury in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.
N.Y. PEN. LAW § 210.10 : NY Code – Section 210.10: Perjury in the second degree
A person is guilty of perjury in the second degree when he swears falsely and when his false statement is (a) made in a subscribed written instrument for which an oath is required by law, and (b) made with intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his official functions, and (c) material to the action, proceeding or matter involved. Perjury in the second degree is a class E felony.
N.Y. PEN. LAW § 210.15 : NY Code – Section 210.15: Perjury in the first degree
A person is guilty of perjury in the first degree when he swears falsely and when his false statement (a) consists of testimony, and (b) is material to the action, proceeding or matter in which it is made. Perjury in the first degree is a class D felony.
What does it mean to “swear falsely”? It does NOT mean, to use Mr. Golden’s terms, to make “simple lapses in memory or hindsight…” N.Y. PEN. LAW § 210.00 : NY Code – Section 210.00: Perjury and related offenses; definitions of terms, Paragraph 5 defines “swear falsely” thus:
5. "Swear falsely." A person "swears falsely" when he intentionally makes a false statement which he does not believe to be true (a) while giving testimony, or (b) under oath in a subscribed written instrument. A false swearing in a subscribed written instrument shall not be deemed complete until the instrument is delivered by its subscriber, or by someone acting in his behalf, to another person with intent that it be uttered or published as true.
Thus, perjury is knowingly lying. Why would our dear County Executive fear being caught knowingly lying, or having any of his employees caught knowingly lying?
The drama continues this week with hearings scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (monthly schedule here). Diana might be there Tuesday; if and probably not, we will have Golden’s magic act and slippery grip of perjury in his place.
One for the Ladies
Did you read Doonesbury today, Sunday July 15? Here’s a link to the strip.
When I read this, I immediately thought of the Newburgh Industrial Development Agency, which the Newburgh City Council had the “wisdom” to appoint an all-male, seven-member board in 2008. At some point, one of its members effectively dropped out, moving out of state, but it took a long time for the board to bother noticing that this was a problem that needed attention.
They are now looking for another board member–although the search process has been limper than overcooked noodles.
Perhaps there is a lady out there who could take on the dubious challenge of improving the collective IQ level and non-existent gender equity of this agency.
My second thought was about the Orange County IDA, which is one small point better than the Newburgh IDA on the gender equity score because IT has a WOMAN BOARD MEMBER! Imagine! How extraordinary. And unlike several of the Newburgh IDA board members, whose backgrounds are academic and/or nonprofit, Ms. Rogulski is a businesswoman–a banker–and she frequently says very intelligent things! I have heard them with my own ears!
But this does not raise the collective IQ of the County IDA anywhere close to where it should be, although it brings them perhaps to the early 1960s instead of the 1950s or the 1900s.
It must have been Ms. Rogulski’s sparkling intelligence that swayed Active Ventilation to pursuing the County IDA for benefits and giving up on the Newburgh IDA, even though they are located in the City of Newburgh. Not for long. Wawayanda beckons.
Instead, the Newburgh IDA has a proposal before the Newburgh City Council (that may be on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting) for a busywork project of making a database of small businesses–for which they are asking for a CDBG grant for $15,000. It is unclear to me now, as it was in February, when this proposal was first brought forward, several things:
a.) Isn’t this the kind of thing the IDA should be doing on its own dime?
b.) Aren’t the CDBG funds better spent elsewhere?
c.) Isn’t it totally pathetic the Newburgh IDA can’t do real work, like keeping Active Ventilation in Newburgh with its 30 or more jobs to be created, in manufacturing no less–how many US manufacturing companies are there these days–and instead we get these ridiculous projects a competent secretary could polish off in a few afternoons?
Memo to the Newburgh IDA: Women Board Members Needed. It’s Critical.
P.S. I admit, I also wondered fancifully if Mr. Petro had resigned to open up another spot for a woman, instead of some other reason, like holding the State Comptroller’s Office in contempt, but there is no record of any correspondence between the State Comptroller and Mr. Petro or his friend and fellow resignee IDA counsel Phil Crotty. How do I know? I FOILed for it. Although I guess you can’t FOIL telephone calls.